Bungie recently gave us the chance to see Destiny 2: Lightfall in action. In a behind-closed-doors presentation, Bungie showed off Destiny 2's new city of Neomuna (opens in new tab), and most excitingly of all—for me and other buildcrafting sickos, at least—demonstrated the new in-game loadouts system.
Here's the big news: Bungie has confirmed that you will be able to swap in-game loadouts mid-activity, without having to go to orbit.
If you're not a Destiny 2 player, loadouts must sound like an obvious feature—but it doesn't don't exist in-game at all, so this will be a huge upgrade. Currently, players are reliant on third-party loadout tools that use the game's API. Sites like Destiny Item Manager let you create and save loadouts, but can only swap between them at select times—never inside of an activity itself.
This can be frustrating when you've got builds that use the same armour set but with different mods. For example, If you want to switch builds mid-raid, you either have to manually replicate your loadout—individually swapping out mods, aspects and fragments—or return to orbit, get DIM to swap your gear, and rejoin your fireteam.
With Destiny 2's new in-game loadouts, launching with Lightfall, you'll be able to switch at any time. (Unless you're in a gear locked activity, of course—you're not getting around a GM Nightfall's modifier.)
And here's another improvement: According to Bungie, swapping loadouts should be "comparable to the time it takes to swap a single piece of equipment on your character screen". That, too, is a vast improvement over the third-party sites that—depending on how busy Destiny 2 is at any particularly time—can be slow to switch out mods on your gear.
In many ways, Destiny 2's in-game loadouts look like everything we want. You can preset every aspect of a build—armour mods, weapon perks and cosmetics—save them to one of your build slots, and instantly switch over to them at any time. The new mod customization screen lets you tinker with your loadout from a single page, making it easier to refine your set-up and tinker with the new Armor Charge system.
Nevertheless, there are some limitations too. The big one is simply the number of build slots available: 10 per character, unlocked as you level up your Guardian Rank. As someone currently sitting on 19 active DIM builds for my Warlock, I'm clearly going to have to make some sacrifices. That said, buildcrafting is also going to be less complicated in Lightfall. The removal of elemental armour affinities should cut down on the need for each build to have such a specific, tailored setup.
I also don't love the lack of finesse around how saved builds are categorised. Instead of naming your build, you select from a predefined list that contains the names of subclass elements, in-game activities and the Greek alphabet. You can at least customise the icon and colour of each build in your loadout, but I'm not looking forward to trying to distinguish my Starfire build from my Phoenix Protocol build from my Lunafaction build.
But despite all this, I'll still likely use Bungie's loadouts over the DIM alternative, purely for the convenience of swapping mid-activity. That alone is a big enough quality-of-life change to justify accepting any minor downsides.
More generally, I can't wait to get my hands on the system, and play around with the new buildcrafting options. Everything Bungie has shown so far makes it seem far more user friendly—right down to UI icons on the character screen that show you which Champions you're currently able to stun. The new Armor Charge system looks like a more cohesive system than the previous combat mods, and there's some new stuff in there—I've spotted one called Font of Agility, which gives a stat bonus to mobility while you have an Armor Charge—that I'm excited to put to use.
You can read more about Bungie's plans for buildcrafting in Lightfall in our interview from last month.